Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Monday, January 28, 2013


January 19th on The High Line and the Jelena witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena') startles with its blaze. The dead brown leaves don't drop but survive on the shrub's branches. At first I'm put off by the dead/live combo, but the sun shinning through the flowers is irrepressible.
Brilliant blue berries on juniper pair with grape holly (Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun')
in full bloom.
 Even where the trees and shrubs are totally bare, the colors of birch and willow bark make me appreciate the thought behind the plant choices. But plants aren't the whole reason for going to The High Line right now. Art abounds.
At 23rd. St when we entered we were greeted by this street art on an adjacent building.
Then unexpectedly there was a major piece using recycled pressed tin and mirror by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui. (below, partially hidden by the juniper, 'Broken Bridge II). 
 Reflections from nearby buildings incorporate themselves as part of the work. I didn't recognize the artist's name but the style kept niggling at my brain. When I got home I pieced together that he is the same artist I visit regularly at the Met Museum to pay homage to his  'Between Heaven and Earth'. He will have a major show of his monumental works at the Brooklyn Museum of Art from Feb. 8-Aug. 4, 2013.
If you're tired of looking at plants and art, try the ever popular New York sport of people watching.
What is the fascination of looking down on 10th Avenue?

Above, the Empire State Building, grape holly, winterberry, witch hazel, and Jen P. Hopkins.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


One week ago today, on that warm Jan 10th, I toured my roof garden aching for signs of spring. There was one tattered white hellebore in bloom and FLOWER BUDS swelling on the quince. Don't tell a soul, but I couldn't resist. I 'pruned' two small branches. Of course the shrub is a dwarf variety and thus small by nature.
For indoor forcing, I like to mist stems with warm water before placing in a vase with warm water, then place in a warm room with bright light. One week later the buds are swelling to the 'popcorn' stage and I can see a little color.
Before too long, maybe another week, I expect some bloom, maybe like this.

 Cut any shrub or tree to force that blooms before leafing, like quince, forsythia, apple, cherry or crab. Do it now to help you last through the rest of the winter. And don't forget to change the water every few days.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos are traveling to promote our books. We would LOVE to see you at our various events and have you introduce yourself as a blog reader.
Coming soon to a town near you (if you live near Boston):
Ellen Spector Platt, Feb.9, 2pm at the Andover bookstore, Andover MA, a free collage lesson and demo to promote her book, Artful Collage from Found Objects. To learn more...
(pictured above, 'The 7 Train', photo collage from the 5Pointz area of Queens)

where we'll both be speaking. Photos above and below from recent shows.
For Ellen Zachos on March 5th it's Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat.

For Ellen Spector Platt on March 6th it's Adventures in Garden Collage.
See us both if you stay over one night, listen to other speakers, see the show in all it's glory, and if you're feet aren't totally shot, visit the new Barnes Foundation Museum within easy walking distance of the flower show.
To learn more about the show visit....

Friday, January 4, 2013


 Just before Christmas my favorite Upper East Side container garden looked like this; some planted materials on roots like the ivy, and some cut stems and boughs like the magnolia leaves. The greenery was greatly enhanced by stems of heather (or is it heath, I always mix them up).
It's such a treat to find a designer not wedded to bright red for the holidays.
Now that New Year's day has come and gone, the planting looks even more appropriate and will cheer passersby like me for months to come.
But someone couldn't resist putting cheap red velvet bows on the window wreaths at this address, and I took the pics but can't bear to show them.

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